Small businesses key to economy

A NEW report confirms Australia's two million small businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy.

Minister for Small Business Senator Nick Sherry launched Australian Small Business Key Statistics - an overview of Australia's small businesses, with emphasis on business counts, characteristics and performance.

"The research reinforces how vital a role the small business sector plays in Australia's economic life," Senator Sherry said.

The report has been compiled by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and other sources.

"Small business accounted for nearly half of total industry employment and a third of industry value-added in 2009-10," Senator Sherry said.

"Small businesses have a major presence in all industry sectors. "At June 2009, they accounted for nearly 98% of all businesses in the agriculture sector, about 96% in the services sector, about 91% in the mining sector and just over 88% in the manufacturing sector.

"The Gillard Government is keen to ensure small businesses have all the support and advice they need to continue providing the essential economic activity for the nation."

The Government has a number of programs that directly support small business, such as the Small Business Advisory Services program. Through this the government has already committed $48.25 million to fund 37 Business Enterprise Centres around Australia.

Senator Sherry launched the research while opening the Small Business Development Conference in Sydney.

A copy of Small Business Key Statistics is available at www.innovation.gov.au.



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